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Posted 27 Jul, 2015 | Posted in: Planning, Travel Blogs, Travel Tips | 32 Comments

First I have to say that finding Google Flights was one of the most exciting things we’ve discovered online since Johnny Ward’s travel blog (which inspired us to start this one). And no, Google isn’t paying us to write this post (although they should… they probably pay very well). We just found out about Google Flights a few days ago and we’ve been spreading the word amongst our friends and everyone is just as amped as we are. It’s time that we share this amazing service / travel hack with you guys!

What Makes Google Flights So Great?

You know how whenever you’re searching for a flight, you use about 6 different search engines (well, you should), because each one has a feature that you like. One website shows a full week of fares, one allows you to track flight costs, and on another booking engine you can choose to book onward flights in a package deal. Well Google has all of these features, plus one more that makes it BY FAR the best booking engine we’ve ever seen.

Popular Destinations

You Can Search Flights By Country or Region!

We’ve been wishing and hoping for this feature to appear in flight booking services since we started travelling in 2008 and finally the Google gods have answered our prayers!

We’ll go over the other features of this site soon, but the main difference that we’ve found, which we haven’t found with any other booking site, is the ability to search for flights to a particular region.

Google Flights Fly To Region

For example, if you want to fly to Europe, but you don’t really care what country you land in because you just want the cheapest possible flight, with Google Flights you can type in your departing city and for destination, you can simply put “Europe”.

Google Flights will then open a map of Europe with fares on each city, so that you can easily choose the cheapest place to fly to. All Europe travellers know that once you’re in Europe, you can fly anywhere for under $50 with airlines like Easy Jet and Ryan Air, so this feature will save a lot of time and money.

For spontaneous vacationers, full-time travellers and digital nomads like ourselves, this feature is priceless. Finally, we can choose what region we want to travel to and find the best possible rate in 5 seconds, rather than having to search through thousands of cities, airports and airlines.

I just have to say… Thank-you Google!

Google Flights Map

The same tool works when you type in a country as your destination. There are over 5,000 paved runways in the US alone, so being able to choose a nation as the destination, and then picking the cheapest airport to land in will save travellers a ton of money.

But that’s not all. As we said earlier, Google Flights has all of the features that hardcore travellers look for in a booking site, so let’s continue…

1 Month of Fares!

Month Of Fares Google FlightsSo you’re looking at the map and you see that if you fly into Paris, it’s going to save you $250 so obviously that’s your decided port of entry into Europe. Now you simply click on the fare next to Paris on the map and a pop-up appears that shows an entire month of fares. Now you can look through the dates and choose which one is the cheapest.

Sometimes you can save up to 75% off of the flight cost just by booking on the right day of the month (we’ve tested it). You’d never see all those fares on a normal booking site unless you spent hours re-entering your dates and searching different airlines.

Multi-City Tab

We recently wrote about using this feature in our Credit Walk article: 7 Secrets To Finding Cheaper Flights Online. Not all booking engines have this feature, but Google Flights does. It allows you to group multiple flights together so that you can save big money.

Multi-City Google Flights

We flew from Guatemala City to Havana, and then Havana to San Jose, Costa Rica using this handy little hack and it saved us $200 each.

I’m Feeling Lucky

Once you’ve chosen a destination region and expanded the map view, you can click the “I’m Feeling Lucky” button to scan through random destinations and see which one is the cheapest. How fun is that?

I'm Feeling Lucky Google Flights

Maximum Flight Time

Nobody likes to be in transit for 36 hours. Simply drag the “Flight Time” indicator down to your maximum allowable travel time and the flights will automatically update. We like to keep it under 24 hours if possible!

Maximum Flight Duration Google Flights

As usual you can do the same with departure times, number of layovers and fare price.

Best Flight Indicator

Google will do all or your calculations for you. Once you’ve chosen a destination and you’re looking at that long list of fares, Google will calculate which flight gives you the best bang for your buck based on a combination of cost and speed.

Best Flights

Handy Tips Bar

When you’re booking a flight, there is a “Tips Bar” at the top of the screen and it will tell you how much you can save if you decide to book a bit earlier, later or from a different airport.

Happiness Factors

Happiness Factors Google FlightsThis feature is fantastic. Google Flights has teamed up with Routehappy to include comfort and happiness factors into their search results. When you’re booking your flight, you can see the aircraft model, seat type, cabin layout, integrated entertainment, power sockets, Wi-Fi provision and fresh food availability right next to the fare. You can even see how much leg room you’ll have!

A good deal is only a good deal if you’re happy and comfortable while you’re in the air. Sometimes an extra couple of bucks is worth it if it means you have have wi-fi, food and power sockets on the plane!

Flight Fare Tracking

Simply click the “Save This Itinerary” function and Google will warn you of significant price drops via the Google Now app which will send you notifications on your smart device.

Some Features We’d Like To SeePlane Road Sign

Okay, Google did a good job of creating this flight booking engine, but as always… we as the consumer figure we could have done better. Here are a few features we’d like to see implemented in the future:

  • Flight & Hotel / Flight & Car Rental Tab: These tabs offer huge savings on other booking sites so we’d like to see them on Google Flights as well.
  • Lowest fare to anywhere: Google has all of this amazing information about flight costs, history of fares and discounted rates, they should include a “Best Flight To Anywhere” button for real spontaneous travellers like us. Google could search the whole map and find the lowest fares based on historical searches. Kind of like a worldwide “I’m Feeling Lucky” button based solely on price.
  • Low Fare Highlighter: Once you choose a country or region in Google Flights, you have to manually scan through the fares on the map to find the lowest one. Google should highlight the best deals based on the fares history.

We Hope You Find This Useful

We loved this flight booking engine so much that we just had to share it with you guys. It has pretty much every feature we have ever wanted, plus the amazing new innovation that allows you to choose a destination region to fly to, rather than just a city.

Leave it to Google to take something that’s been around for years and make it ten times better. If this doesn’t save you money and time when you’re booking your future travels, I don’t know what will! This article is a veritable travel hack bonanza and everything can be found on Google.com/flights. Enjoy!

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Goats On The RoadWritten by

Nick & Dariece started this website to encourage others to do what they love. For some it’s travel, but happiness comes in many forms. It’s all about lifestyle design.

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32 thoughts on “Why Google Flights is The Best Thing To Hit The Web Since Google

  1. I recently discovered google flights too and it’s so good! Particularly like the price chart you get when you save a flight so you can easily track the price history. Agree that it would be nice to see the cheapest flight anywhere option (or even by region) but I guess if you filter the price down then you get the same result?

    1. You really can’t beat that price chart! A Google employee commented below and says the flight to anywhere button does work for regions, but not for the world and not based entirely on the cheapest airfare. I’d love the “I’m feeling lucky around the world” button to show up still 🙂

  2. It’s great to see Google get involved with the airlines as they run on systems built in the 60’s and need a shake up. However for those of use in Europe using Skyscanner for the past few years we are used to many of the features listed above already 🙂

    1. Even the fly to destination region feature? I’ve never seen that anywhere else and it’s the one that sets GF apart for me. I haven’t used Sky Scanner in a while but don’t think it has that feature does it? Either way, it’s all the great stuff bundled up into one that I like!

  3. Heading to Thailand – going to absolutely use this for finding flights! I’d heard about how great it was but hadn’t spent the time to research it yet – again – thanks for the efforts!
    Hugs to both of you!
    Nadine

  4. This is so fantastic! We are usually die hard sky scanner users because you are able to look at the fare calendars and see what days are cheaper. It looks like Google took what they did and just improved it ten fold. Next time we book flights we will definitely be using this! Thanks for spreading the word!

  5. I work on Google Flights and loved this writeup! Thanks for the kinds words and really thoughtful details; I’m especially delighted you highlighted our special Tips section and our improved airline amenities info.

    re “flight to anywhere”… neat idea! We do have something somewhat close; you can type in a really broad region for your destination, like “Europe” or “Asia” and we’ll show you a selection of great places to go. And while we don’t suggest the absolute cheapest flight at that point, you CAN set a price filter to help you find amazing deals. Here’s a Map view of destinations in Europe where one can travel to from San Francisco for under $1,000 round trip, for instance:
    https://www.google.com/flights/#search;f=SFO;t=r-Europe-0x46ed8886cfadda85%253A0x72ef99e6b3fcf079;d=2015-10-16;r=2015-10-30;mp=1000;mc=m

    We hear you about making it easier to spot the low fares, though.

    Do keep the ideas coming! Best way to get them seen by a whole lot of our team members is to send them to us via our Feedback mechanism:
    1) Go to http://www.google.com/flights
    2) Click on the little menu button on the lefthand side
    3) Select Send Feedback

    These posts get categorized and are just a couple clicks away for any of us Flights team members to view and discuss :).

    Anyway, thanks again for the great post, and all the best in your travels!

    P.S. — We don’t offer travel packages at this point, but do check out our growing Hotels service; just search for a hotel in Google, e.g., “Hotels in London” and check out our recommendations with prices :).

    1. Hey Adam,

      I’d be pretty proud to have worked on this booking engine. I’ve used countless booking sites over the past 5 years of travelling the world, and Google Flights blows all others out of the water. I’ll look into submitting some ideas… first one, be the only flight booking site that doesn’t store cookies to jack up prices for those who have viewed a single fare multiple times! That would really set Google Flights apart!

      We took a really long time putting this together and really love using Google Flights. Maybe you could talk to your friends in the Google Social Media department and ask them to share this awesome article on the Google Facebook page, tweet it to Google’s followers and maybe even share it on Google’s Google Plus? I think it’s worthy!

      Thanks so much for commenting and for helping to create the best booking engine that travellers and digital nomads have ever seen 🙂

      Cheers.

    2. Adam, you emailed me in regards to an issue i am having with google flights-the link that should take me to the airline to purchase is not working properly. I have tried on different occasions with different airlines. Any suggestions as to why?

      1. Hi Sandy,

        Assuming your report is is the one involving L to P on 3 different airlines… I was able to book this itinerary successfully on American by clicking the link on desktop. If you’ve had issues booking this via MOBILE please let us know. In either case, it’d be great if you’d share more specifics via our feedback mechanism… e.g., what error message, if any, you get… whether you see the right itin but wrong price… and so on. This’ll better help us troubleshoot and improve Flights for everyone. Thanks! 🙂

  6. Great article here! I think Google Flights seems like a very useful tool. I’m excited to see how technology can help us travel in the future!

  7. How do you book the flights once google finds them? When I tried through american-which is blue on my saved flights, so I figured was a link, no phone number-it just allows me to select it and go to American. There is no way to put in the flight numbers on american. Help!

    1. Hi Sandy,

      It *should* be taking you directly to a page on AA’s site that allows you to purchase the itinerary; sorry that’s not working for you :\. If you wouldn’t mind, please send us more details directly from the Flights page by clicking on the lefthand menu and selecting Send Feedback; that’ll better enable us to see what’s going on and work with AA to fix things. Thanks!

      1. Hey, Adam, have done as you asked multiple times and nothing is changing. Yes, I am on a desktop-windows 10, latest Chrome, and have an account with Google pay. The link to American just goes nowhere, all I can do is select it to cut and paste. There isn’t any phone information-just the link. Am I missing a step somewhere? I have three saved flights and the link says “Book with American” in blue.

      2. Hi Adam,

        I just sent you an email about Google Flights. If you didn’t receive it, I thought I’d post it here. Hopefully you’ll be able to respond before I completely change the article.

        Why is 2 months of fares not showing up in the calendar any more? What happen to the graph of 30 days of fares that used to show up when you clicked the destination in map view? Those were 2 of the best parts of Google Flights. Why is it not working like that anymore?

        Thanks,

        Nick:)

  8. I just received an email from United Airlines saying that they would cancel my reservation due to non payment. I paid using my debit card. The money was taken out of my account for this trip. Who do I contact about this problem?

    1. Hi Selina,

      I’m not 100% sure as we don’t actually have any affiliation with Google Flights, but I would recommend calling Google and contacting their flights department to see if they can rectify it. We had a similar issue with Expedia and it turned out to be an error on the Airlines side.

      Hope this helps!

  9. Hi Tena,

    Definitely glad you used Google to find flights, but sorry to hear of the payments issue.

    Since you booked, paid, and were charged for the flight on United.com, please contact United regarding the situation. I’d suggest calling vs. emailing or using their forms.

    Regards,
    Adam
    Google Travel

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